Making books

My wife just made some books. Actual books. To me, this is a little bit as if she built a new television set. It’s sort of like magic.

Essentially the magicprocess goes as follows. The paper is folded, then hand-stitched into groups of pages called signatures.

These separately stitched signatures are bound into essentially the inside of a book.

Then there’s a cardboard cover, in three parts so as to give it a flexible spine.

This is rounded to make a proper book shape. Here are three raw books.

Then the whole assemblage is glued together. Extra sheets link the cover to the inner pages, the cover is coated in book cloth/paper, and a cover design paper is glued over the top. Et voila! Three finished books

The end result is a little blank notebook that, frankly, I’d have a hard time telling apart from one bought in a shop. And all this from nothing but paper, cardboard, fabric and glue. How cool is that?

EDIT: And here’s an open book, so to speak.

Further adventures in crafting

My wife’s been busy making crafty things again. As you know she’s a tireless explorer of different craft projects and gets through more in one weekend than I get done in your average month. This time around she’s turning her hand to wire bracelet making, and as usual she’s invested in a range of books, equipment and tools. She’s only made a few so far, but this is the one she’s most pleased with:

This one is copper wire shaped around a wooden mandrel, bound at intervals, with beads threaded on to make the pattern. As usual I’m very impressed. The other fruits of her labours can be seen here. She’s already taken an order from someone at work to do some more! I think Janet pretty much has a good time with everything she tries, but she’s particularly enjoying the bracelet making at the moment.

For those of you not interested in craftwork, here is a cute snoring three-legged cat:

Even Craftier

My wife has been crafting again. This time it’s one of her long-running projects that she’s finally finished in a sudden turn of speed, plus some glass jewellery.

She’s been making a few sets of wooden drawers for a while now, and this is the original practice piece made from pine which after many, many hours of sanding now opens and closes without sticking. At one stage I did wonder whether Janet’s hand would fall off before the box was completed. With a little Danish Oil it looks lovely. She wasn’t going to bother finishing this because it was just a test piece and she’s not overly fond of pine as a material, but I think it’s turned out really well.

Glass Jewellery too

More wifely craftiness

My wife is one of those people who always has some hobby or other on the go. I may have mentioned this before. I may also have mentioned that she tends to jump in with both feet, and that the results are often highly impressive.

Recently she signed up for a silver art course at the National Glass Centre. The course was a mixture of traditional silver working, and silver art clay. The clay is a suspension of pure silver in clay that can be moulded and then fired, burning away the clay to leave just fine silver (99.9% pure in fact; purer than sterling silver.) Obviously the materials are quite expensive but Janet being Janet she now has a fair bit of silver clay, several tools, a number of books on the subject, and a butane-powered mini-blow torch. Oh yes.

She’s not much on wearing earrings but she does wear necklaces and bracelets so made a number of items of jewellery along those lines.

I think the pendants are fantastic. All the pendants were done with silver art clay; the leaf design was her own and the piece has been oxidised and then polished to give the antique, slightly coppery look with the polished silver showing through on the highlights. The other pendants are unoxidised silver with a lot of polishing. The gems are synthetic.

More pendant pictures

Ghosts and goblins

It’s begun. We’ve had six trick-or-treaters already. Four of the uninspiring ’12-year-old boys in tracksuits with Scream masks’ variety, and two of the ‘painfully cute little girls in witches’ costume’ variety. One was a man selling double-glazing, but we won’t talk about him.

As always our porch is bedecked with Halloween decorations in a way which would make any self-respecting house-holder cry with shame, and us glow with pride. Janet took the pumpkin carving one step further this year with a fantastic spider-web design she found online. I’m so impressed. I played it safe.

I realise that huge numbers of people lock the doors, hide behind the sofa, go out, or otherwise take out restraining orders on anyone under 20. Others say it’s tantamount to begging, or extortion. Some grumble it’s American culture subsuming our own. Even the police are talking tough. Frankly we have no complaints. We get all treats, no tricks. The worst I can say is that some of the kids don’t put much effort in, but many do, and many are accompanied by responsible parents. A significant portion are so sweet and so sincere you could die from cuteness on the spot. Especially when they squee with excitement as they leave with the bag of treats. Above all, and despite the recent commercialisation, it’s about kids being kids and having fun, not about anything antisocial. It’s cool.

EDIT: Sample grumpy news story.

EDIT2: All went very well, although we got through less bags of sweets than usual. I think some of the kids have grown out of it (we had a large group of older teenagers dressed as office zombies last year who said it was their final trick-or-treat). Plus we always get fewer when Halloween is mid week.

To cap it off I’ve managed to crack my head off the door post while taking down the decorations. Hard. Right on the outside edge of my eye socket. Ouch. There’s a tiny gash and some swelling, but despite Janet trying to cajole me into a trip to Casualty there are no signs of concussion. Just soreness!